If you are an avid traveler, you know how disruptive noise can be, especially during long flights or train rides. To combat this, noise-cancelling headphones have become an essential accessory for many travelers. With so many options available, however, choosing the best noise-cancelling headphones for travel can be overwhelming. In this article, we will discuss what noise-cancelling headphones are, why they are important for travel, factors to consider when choosing them, top brands, and provide expert recommendations to help you make an informed decision.

What are noise-cancelling headphones?

Noise-cancelling headphones are a type of headphones designed to reduce external noise, allowing you to listen to music, watch movies, or sleep more comfortably during travel. They work by emitting an inverse sound wave that cancels out the external noise. They are different from passive noise-isolating headphones, which uses a physical barrier to block out noise. Noise-cancelling headphones provide more effective noise reduction, especially for low-frequency noises such as airplane engines or train tracks.

There are two types of noise-cancelling headphones: active and passive. Active noise-cancelling headphones use a microphone to pick up external noise and then create an inverse sound wave to cancel it out. Passive noise-cancelling headphones, on the other hand, use materials such as foam or rubber to block out external noise.

While noise-cancelling headphones are great for reducing external noise, they can also be expensive. However, there are many affordable options available in the market that provide good noise reduction. It is important to note that noise-cancelling headphones may not completely eliminate all external noise, but they can significantly reduce it, making them a great investment for frequent travelers or those who work in noisy environments.

How do noise-cancelling headphones work?

Noise-cancelling headphones consist of four main components: a microphone, noise-cancelling circuitry, an amplifier, and a speaker. The microphone picks up external noises and sends them to the noise-cancelling circuitry, which analyzes the sound waves and creates an inverse sound wave that cancels out the external noise. The amplifier then increases the volume of the inverse sound wave, while the speaker plays this sound closer to your ears to effectively cancel out the external noise.

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There are two types of noise-cancelling headphones: passive and active. Passive noise-cancelling headphones work by physically blocking out external noise with materials like foam or rubber. Active noise-cancelling headphones, on the other hand, use the components mentioned above to actively cancel out external noise. This technology is particularly useful in environments with constant background noise, such as airplanes or busy offices.

Why are noise-cancelling headphones important for travel?

Traveling can be stressful, and constant exposure to noise can only make it worse. With noise-cancelling headphones, you can block out disturbances such as crying babies, engine noise, chatty passengers, or loud announcements, and make your travels more peaceful and enjoyable. Additionally, noise-cancelling headphones can also reduce ear fatigue, especially during long flights or train rides.

Another benefit of noise-cancelling headphones is that they can help you focus on your work or entertainment. Whether you need to finish a report or watch a movie, noise-cancelling headphones can create a distraction-free environment, allowing you to concentrate better. This is especially useful if you’re traveling for business or studying for an exam.

Moreover, noise-cancelling headphones can also protect your hearing. Exposure to loud noise for extended periods can damage your hearing, and this is a common problem for frequent travelers. By using noise-cancelling headphones, you can reduce the volume of external noise and listen to your music or podcasts at a lower, safer level. This can help prevent hearing loss and tinnitus, which are common among people who travel frequently.

Factors to consider when choosing noise-cancelling headphones for travel

When choosing noise-cancelling headphones for travel, there are several factors to consider:

  • Battery life: Since noise-cancelling headphones are electronic, they need to be recharged regularly. A good pair should have a battery life of at least 20 hours.
  • Comfort: Travel headphones should be comfortable to wear for extended periods without causing ear fatigue, and have soft cushioning.
  • Audio quality: Noise-cancelling headphones should provide good audio quality, regardless of noise reduction.
  • Portability: Travel headphones should be compact, lightweight, and easy to pack in your carry-on luggage or backpack.
  • Brand reputation: Choose noise-cancelling headphones from reputable brands with a history of producing quality audio equipment.

Top brands of noise-cancelling headphones for travel

When it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, several brands stand out:

  • Bose: Bose has been a leader in audio technology for decades, and its QuietComfort line of noise-cancelling headphones are known for their exceptional noise cancellation, audio quality, and comfort.
  • Sony: Sony’s WH-1000XM line of noise-cancelling headphones is considered the main competitor to Bose’s QuietComfort line. They offer excellent noise cancellation, comfortable fit, and longer battery life.
  • Sennheiser: Sennheiser’s Momentum line of noise-cancelling headphones is a mid-range option that offers excellent audio quality and noise cancellation, as well as sleek design and comfortable fit.
  • AKG: AKG’s N60NC wireless noise-cancelling headphones are a great budget-friendly option that still provides quality noise-reduction and audio.
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Reviews of the best noise-cancelling headphones for travel

Based on our research and expert recommendations, here are the top noise-cancelling headphones for travel in 2022:

  • Bose QuietComfort 35 II: These headphones offer the most comprehensive noise-cancellation in the market, excellent sound quality, and around 20 hours of battery life. They are also incredibly comfortable, making them perfect for long flights.
  • Sony WH-1000XM4: These headphones combine top-tier noise-cancellation, impressive sound quality, and an impressive battery life of up to 30 hours. They also offer additional features, such as voice amplification, making them a popular choice among travelers.
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless: These headphones offer excellent sound quality, sleek design, and responsive noise-cancellation that adapts to different environments. They have a battery life of up to 17 hours.
  • Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are a less bulky option for travelers that still uses the latest noise-canceling technology from Bose. It has an impressive battery life of up to 20 hours and offers great sound quality.

Comparison of the top noise-cancelling headphones for travel

To make a better decision, here is a detailed comparison of the top-rated noise-cancelling headphones in the market.

Brand Model Noise-cancellation Battery life Price
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Excellent 20 hours $299
Sony WH-1000XM4 Excellent 30 hours $348
Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless Very good 17 hours $399
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Very good 20 hours $279

Pros and cons of using noise-cancelling headphones while traveling

Although noise-cancelling headphones can lead to a more peaceful travel experience, here are some of the pros and cons to consider:

  • Pros: Reduced external noise, reduced ear fatigue, improved music or movie experience, and possible reduction of stress and anxiety levels.
  • Cons: Expensive, may cause ear pressure, can be bulky, may hinder awareness of surroundings, and may require a power source.

How to take care of your noise-cancelling headphones while on the go

To ensure your noise-cancelling headphones last, here are some tips to take care of them while on the go:

  • Carry the headphones in a protective case to prevent damage
  • Avoid overcharging the battery, which can cause damage or shorter battery life
  • Clean the headphones regularly to remove dirt, dust, and ear wax
  • Handle the headphones gently to prevent damage to the ear cups, wires, and other components
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Tips for using noise-cancelling headphones effectively during travel

To get the most out of your noise-cancelling headphones during travel, here a few tips:

  • Choose the right size and ear cup material for maximum comfortability
  • Experiment with different noise-cancellation settings to find what works best.
  • Choose songs or movies with low to medium volume levels to prevent hearing damage
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded, unfamiliar areas
  • Consider using earplugs, especially during takeoff and landing, to prevent pressure buildup.

Alternatives to traditional over-ear noise-cancelling headphones for travel

Although over-ear noise-cancelling headphones are the most popular and effective option, there are alternatives to consider:

  • In-ear noise-cancelling earbuds: Less bulky than over-ear headphones, and ideal for travelers who want a more portable option.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones for kids: Specially designed for young passengers, these headphones usually have lower volume levels to prevent hearing damage and kid-friendly designs.
  • Noise-cancelling hearing protectors: These headphones are ideal for those working in noisy environments like construction sites or airports.

Budget-friendly options for travelers seeking noise-cancellation

If you are seeking quality noise-cancellation headphones on a budget, here are a few options to consider:

  • AKG N60NC wireless: At $199, these headphones have excellent noise-cancellation, good audio quality, and a compact design, making them perfect for travelers on a budget.
  • TaoTronics SoundSurge 60: These headphones offer comparable noise-cancellation and audio quality to higher-end models, and cost only $40 on Amazon, making them a popular budget option.
  • Anker Soundcore Life Q20: These over-ear headphones offer excellent noise-cancellation and audio quality, and have an impressive battery life of up to 60 hours, all for only $60.

How to get the most out of your noise-cancelling headphones on long flights

Long flights can be taxing, but your noise-cancelling headphones can make it easier. Here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of them during long haul flights:

  • Pack a portable charging pack to recharge your headphones
  • Listen to relaxing music to help you sleep during the flight
  • Pair your headphones with a noise-cancellation app to enhance the experience
  • Consider wireless earbuds to reduce battery usage

Expert recommendations for the best noise-cancelling headphones for different types of travelers

To help you make a more informed decision, here are some expert recommendations for the best noise-cancelling headphones for different types of travelers:

  • Budget travelers: TaoTronics SoundSurge 60 noise-cancelling headphones
  • Business travelers: Bose QuietComfort 35 II or Sony WH-1000XM4
  • Solo travelers: Bose QuietComfort 35 II or Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless
  • Family travelers: Mokata Kids Wireless headphones for Kids

In conclusion

Noise-cancelling headphones can make traveling more peaceful and enjoyable, and choosing the right pair depends on your personal preferences, budget, and usage. Whether you are a budget traveler or a businessperson, there is a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that will suit your needs perfectly. Use the factors discussed in this article to make an informed decision, and remember to take care of your headphones while on the go. With the right set of noise-cancelling headphones tailored to your travel needs, you can rest assured your travels will be more restful and enjoyable.

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